Suzuki’s solution for those who are just starting to ride and look for something in between the standard and cruiser style is the GZ250 Marauder model, a versatile and easy to handle small motorcycle that is able to introduce a large category of riders to the continuously growing world of motorcycles.
The small model carries on to 2010 without any changes and, even more, it loses the gray coloring available for previous model years and simply sticks to black. Based on a simple strategy that is best concluded by the words “why fix it if it ain’t broken?”, the small Marauder is being powered by the same economical 249cc four-stroke, single-cylinder, SOHC, 2-valve engine with Twin Dome Combustion Chamber (TDCC) put at everyone’s disposal as the seat is 27.8 inches from the ground and the bike’s curb weight is of only 331 lbs.
If you thought that 2010 is just an exception and the GZ250 gets its fair share of revisions on certain intervals, checking out the bike’s evolution will change your opinion. First introduced in 1998, the Suzuki GZ250, also called the Marauder, used the GN250 engine and the looks of the VZ800 Marauder in order to do a first great impression and that’s pretty much it.
The seat height hasn’t been modified ever since, but the first Marauder did weigh an impressive 302 lbs. Small, but reliable, the 249cc single-cylinder, SOHC, four-valves engine produced 20.1 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 18.7 Nm at 7,000 rpm, which is pretty decent even nowadays.
Future production years didn’t brought any upgrades or even the smallest change despite the new color schemes with which Suzuki juggled almost every year.
Ever since 2004, the Suzuki GZ250 featured improved fuel economy as a result of a redesigned combustion chamber into a Twin Dome shape. The bike was exactly the same as the one selling today.
Suzuki may start thinking about revising their smallest cruiser as Star Motorcycles likes to dominate the entry-level category with the V Star 250. The engine on this thing is also a 249cc air-cooled SOHC, but that’s about where the similarities end as the 60-degree V-twin configuration with 2 valves per cylinder set the Star apart from the easily neglected Suzuki.
Already more of a temptation than the Suzuki, the V Star 250 ads a 27.0 inches seat height and 324 lb wet weight on top of that. Buyers will also have to consider mileage: 82 mpg (Suzuki) and 78 mpg (Star).
But if you’re looking for something in between the Suzuki and the Star, Honda is here to provide. The Rebel is an entry-level bike powered by a docile 234cc air-cooled parallel twin-cylinder, SOHC, two valves per cylinder unit. With the lowest seat height in its class (26.6 inches) and the exact same curb weight as the Suzuki (331 lbs), this is quite an alternative.
Having not suffered any design change ever since its introduction, the Suzuki GZ250 proves that timeless looks don’t need any by their nature. So what is it that makes beginners crave for this model with each year that passes and each missed revamp?
For starters, the smooth, flawless lines of the bigger Marauder describe the fenders and gas tank while the spoke wheels set it closer to the classic style as well as the multitude of chromed pieces (headlight, mirrors and instrument covers, exhaust and the rear fender ornaments).
It would be nice to see a V-Twin engine instead of the single-cylinder one underneath that gas tank as that is what practically defines a cruiser, but, the way we see things, there are few chances for that to happen pretty soon.
The only color scheme available for 2010 is the simple Black. If it was good enough for Henry Ford, it is also good enough for this Suzuki.
The fact that the bike is virtually unchanged ever since 2004 offers an advantage after all. For example, you can ride a 2005 model and won’t ever be allowed to call the thing dated.
Having gone through the specs and features, there wasn’t anything in particular that I might want to test despite the handling characteristics and the engine’s capabilities.
Light weight, the GZ is very easy to maneuver in tight parking lot conditions, giving no impression of being a cruiser at the first hand. The seat is low, making it easy to flat foot the ground even for short people or girls that are just starting to ride. Also, with the handlebars at quick reach and forward positioned footpegs, riding down the boulevard makes for a comfortable experience.
The power source beneath you is capable of getting you in front of car columns with a little bit of talent in the shifting department, but if you’re not in a hurry you can also find your way to that red light without bothering anything but your continuously developing riding skills. Even in city traffic, it is very easy to gain experience on the Suzuki GZ250 as the bike is versatility itself and it even helps you save money with its scooter-like fuel consumption.
What I could have appreciated more was a nice, V-Twin sound, but I guess that its carbureted single-cylinder is good enough even for those who have long been riding and now simply look for an economical and easy mean of transportation, especially through the urban jungle.
I am saying that because once you take this baby down the interstate you suddenly feel like you have outgrown the 20 horsepower engine even if you’ve just started to ride. But that’s no problem because as soon as you arrive in the next town you start counting the mistakes and notice how forgiving the bike actually is. Also, if you plan on covering a lot of miles on a daily basis, it is recommended that you buy a windscreen and mount on it even though you won’t be getting it above 70 mph very often.
Suspensions are nice and comfy in their simplicity and they soak up bumps in the road with no stress on the rider’s back. Even speed bumps are easy to deal with, but you’ll have to lift the bottom of the seat if passing on a little too fast, just like on any other cruiser.
The bike feels stable at any speeds (that’s mostly because it doesn’t go that fast) and in case of emergency braking, the front disc brake and rear drum brake are there to provide sufficient stopping power. Yet again, the bike’s 331 lbs wet weight proves benefic.
Overall, the Suzuki GZ250 Marauder is a nice little motorcycle that I would recommend both to beginners and experienced riders who look for a cheap commuting solution as the bike is great for gaining experience and great fun afterwards.
For 2010, Suzuki plans on selling the GZ250 for a suggested retail price of just in between that of the Star’s ($3,990) and Honda’s ($3,999). Gee, I wonder what that translates into.
Not a bike for speed addicts, but one that can do the job in a very efficient way and for a very large category of riders, the 2010 Suzuki GZ250 stands as the middle level solution in its category. That means enough speed for whenever needed, awesome fuel consumption, comfort and a very good price.
Engine and Transmission
Displacement: 249 cc
Engine: 4-stroke, air-cooled, OHC
Bore x Stroke: 72.0 mm (2.835 in) x 61.2 mm (2.409 in)
Compression Ratio: 9.0 : 1
Fuel System: MIKUNI BSR32
Lubrication: Wet sump
Ignition: Electronic ignition (Transistorized)
Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: DID 520V, 110 links
Chassis and Dimensions
Suspension Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Suspension Rear: Swingarm type, coil spring, oil damped
Brakes Front: Disc brake
Brakes Rear: Drum brake
Tires Front: 110/90-16M/C 59P, tube type or 110/90-16M/C 59S, tube type
Tires Rear: 130/90-15M/C 66P, tube type or 130/90-15M/C 66S, tube type
Overall Length: 2160 mm (85.0 in)
Overall Width: 815 mm (32.1 in)
Overall Height: 1090 mm (42.9 in)
Seat Height: 680 mm (27.8 in)
Ground Clearance: 125 mm ( 4.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1450 mm (57.1 in)
Curb Weight: 150 kg (331 lbs)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.0 L (3.4/2.9 US/Imp gal)
Features & Benefits